Rowlett HS Raises Thousands for Late Football Player - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Rowlett HS Raises Thousands for Late Football Player

Students, teachers raise money for scholarship fund, charities



    Students and teachers at Rowlett High School raised money to remember Austin Gaffney. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012)

    Rowlett High School is making sure a football player who recently died will always be remembered.

    Students have raised thousands of dollars to honor 16-year-old junior varsity player Austin Gaffney, who died at Holly Ranch Lake in East Texas last month.

    "There is no getting over the loss of a child," said his mother, Shannon Gaffney. "I miss his sense of humor. I miss our alone time together -- just going to an orthodontist appointment; that was our time together where we could actually talk."

    Students and teachers have raised $9,100 for a scholarship fund and are giving money to charities that were close to Austin Gaffney's heart, such as the Children's Miracle Network and Equest.

    "He was very positive, very optimistic, and we took it upon ourselves to kind of mimic that to make sure his memory was honored and his legacy will live on," said student Nathan Winn.

    The Gaffney family said it is proud and grateful.

    "We're just speechless," Shannon Gaffney said. "It's overwhelming that they did this in Austin's name."

    The school raised money for the charities Austin Gaffney liked by doing many different things, such as a flash mob in the cafeteria, a dunk contest and selling T-shirts.

    His biology teacher, Shelley Meyers, raised the most money.

    "He would come in there, and that smile would light up everything," she said. "When you said the name Austin, people would give -- that's the kind of kid he was. He would give himself so much, so we were trying to give back what he gave of himself."

    Family and friends said they want the junior's legacy to be one of giving back.

    "If I know that something tragic has happened to a family, I would like to be there for them like people where there for us," Shannon Gaffney said.

    The Garland Independent School District said Lake Highlands High School also raised money for Austin Gaffney's scholarship fund at a recent game.